Natural products retailers and suppliers have big reasons to take a closer look at digital marketing strategies.
That's the advice from Bill Bishop, chief architect, Brick Meets Click, who outlined his thinking at an educational session during Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore.
The veteran food industry consultant observed the natural products industry is in a particularly strong position to leverage digital solutions, largely by taking advantage of personalization and fragmentation.
"The good news for sellers of natural products is that you don't have to be found only in the mass market anymore," said Bishop. "You can create your own market."
Successfully navigating the digital waters will help companies "stay relevant to current customers" and "attract new business from the competition," Bishop said
His advice comes against the backdrop of major changes in consumer behavior. "Consumers are more empowered. They don't stop looking until they get what they want. You need to qualify as being what they want."
Another change is that "customer satisfaction increases with more digital connections or touch points with consumers," he added.
Bishop, an IdeaXchange contributor for SN, said much of the digital challenge lies in execution. He outlined five actions steps for natural products marketers:
1-Put the Focus on Customer Solutions: That might involve "solution selling" in a way that increases transaction size, or creating subscription systems for products that lend themselves to this approach, he said. A good strategy is "building more dialogue and conversation with the community online."
2-Tell More Stories: The online space is a good platform for communicating stories about products, and consumers are very open to this information, Bishop said.
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"Tell stories to make emotional connections. Social media is a good way to do this."
3-Put Mobile Into Everything You Do: Marketers need to understand the fast rates of mobile usage growth and the steady movement toward mobile payment systems. Bishop said mobile needs to be considered in a wide range of strategies, including for search, email, websites and online ordering.
4-Test and Learn: There's no substitute to learning from successes and mistakes in the digital realm, Bishop said. "Digital brings information on what works. You need to read and respond."
5-Plan for E-Commerce Growth: Bishop said this type of purchasing will continue to advance and marketers need to build their strategies now to take advantage of it. "Just expect more online selling," he emphasized.
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